Co-authored with Sean Caragata

From automotive test tracks to mines, airports, seaports, and railways, Cisco is helping customers prepare for the age of autonomous vehicles by connecting mission-critical applications and data – at rest and in motion.

General Motors deploys Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul

General Motors (GM) and other manufacturers are using fiber-like wireless to shorten performance testing time, accelerate time to market for technical innovation, and enable autonomous plants.

We recently announced that General Motors is the first automaker to deploy Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul for vehicle performance testing. [Read the Cisco press release.] Performance testing and vehicle development require large amounts of data to move between systems quickly and with low latency.

Using Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul for vehicle-to-trackside connectivity, GM engineers can capture testing data from vehicle sensors in real time, as the vehicle is moving, and adjust the vehicle on the track. This will help GM shorten testing cycles, improve time to market for technical innovations, and provide a critical advantage in the race to deliver electric and autonomous vehicles.

This data connectivity revolution is also helping GM and other manufacturers deliver on industrial mobility and autonomous plant initiatives. The same capabilities allowing GM to make data-driven decisions and vehicle adjustments as vehicles drive around the test track, are also being used by manufacturers to operate automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). This creates a comprehensive wireless asset roaming environment across and between plants, warehouses, and storage yards. Simply put, fixed and mobile assets can share connectivity and better enable factory automation.

These innovations will improve operational efficiency, time to market, and worker safety.

Beyond Manufacturing: Mining, Transportation, and even Theme Parks!

In the same way GM and other manufacturers connect, collect, and manage data from test track vehicles, or AGVs or AMRs on a plant floor, other industries are benefiting from this reliable, fiber-like wireless technology. As it turns out, transmitting large volumes of data and connecting mission critical applications at high speed is industry agnostic.

Mining companies are improving worker safety and operational efficiency by letting workers control AGVs and heavy equipment remotely from the comfort and safety of temperature-controlled offices.

In Transportation, ports and terminals like La Spezia Container Terminal and Malta Freeport Terminals are managing AGVs remotely to move, load, and unload cargo, even in bad weather. They are even using remote cameras and Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul to capture and transmit images as containers are loaded and unloaded. This includes standardized markings indicating origin and destination, condition, door direction, etc. This helps automate scheduling, increase throughput, and improve safety as workers are kept safe from heavy equipment and containers.

Passenger train on overpass

Rail operators are using this technology to deliver large amounts of data from in a variety of ways:

  • Improving passenger experience with Wi-Fi delivered using train to trackside wireless with LTE backup
  • Improving safety by transmitting video images from train to station
  • Capturing train location, improving scheduling and passenger experience
  • Enabling predictive maintenance with better asset visibility

Roadside infrastructure and intersections are being equipped with this fiber-like wireless to connect and manage data and applications for traffic lights, controls, and sensors. These are all essential as we prepare our roadside infrastructure for new autonomous vehicle capabilities.

Theme park operators are also using Cisco Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul to get data from roller coasters, improving safety, asset visibility, and enabling predictive maintenance.

Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul for a variety of heavy industries

Customers across industries are now able to connect mission-critical applications and data from fixed or moving assets. Like with General Motors, Cisco is helping our customers in Manufacturing, Mining, Transportation, and other industries improve data collection, accelerate new product development, improve safety, and increase operational efficiency.

As the United States and other countries invest in their critical infrastructure, Ultra-Reliable Wireless Backhaul is opening new ways to deliver and use intelligence embedded within that infrastructure to deliver business outcomes.


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Wes Sylvester

Vice President, Industry Solutions Group

Cisco Marketing